Our supposedly moral betters pollute the high road of reconciliation with the low rhetoric of revenge. They emit a sulphuric blend of rottenness, as noxious in its use of name-calling as it is negligent in its reliance on naming names; on renaming the president a fascist and his aides the agents of Nazi barbarism; on invoking the worst names in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime by convicting the White House of crimes against humanity; on revoking the right to public accommodation by refusing to accommodate a public official whose politics differ from their own; on regressing from calls for nonviolence by calling for their fellow citizens to kidnap a child—to grab the First Lady’s only son—so criminals may gang-rape an 11-year-old boy. Welcome, in other words, to the continuation of politics by any means necessary.
This is not the politics of the photo-op but the propaganda of the doctored photograph. This is not the politics of patrolling the border but an attempt to police the thoughts of those who want to secure it. To believe otherwise is to suspend disbelief, because you cannot have a conversation about illegal immigration when liberty is an indefensible act of extremism and moderation is a virtuous disguise for vicious behavior. You cannot, in short, be a democrat if you want Democrats to govern by a series of diktats.
Never mind the irony of accusing the president of preaching what his critics seem to have every intention of practicing: tyranny. The soft tyranny of exclusion, not extermination, in which democracy dies beneath the klieg lights of hypocrisy; in which a hashtag burns brighter than any scarlet letter; in which due process of law is a formality we can do without, so long as the alleged wrongdoer says the wrong things.
Thus begins the intellectual migration from civil disagreement to civil war.
If civility is to survive, we need only let our enemies shoot themselves by encouraging them to shoot their mouths off.